Good Mythical Morning Book

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How I made a children’s book

So it was about 4 months ago that I decided to make some piece of art for Rhett and Link. I’m an illustrator, so my first thought was “I’ll make a poster!” With this objective in mind I set about sketching ideas. Most involved Rhett, Link and Belvedere (the cockatrice in the GMM intro).

poster
Too epic to finish

  I soon realized that A) drawing and coloring realistic portraits is wicked hard and B) I wanted to give them something to look at for more than 3 seconds.

After a little thought, I had another idea. I’d been wanting to write a children’s book for some time, and thought this would be the perfect time to wet my feet.

I spent a couple weeks trying to find the characters. I filled out about 5 pages of my Molskine with studies, caricatures, and proportion experiments. I was trying to boil the essence of Rhett & Link down to the fewest possible lines, while trying to make them fun to look at. I tried to ask my self questions like “What exactly makes Rhett look like Rhett?” and “What do eyes look like in this world?”

I made some real ugly drawings.

rhett1

link1

rhett2

link4

This is part of being an illustrator. 70 percent of your ideas will be garbage, but you learn by doing. Eventually I started getting closer to a style that I thought would work.

goodRhett2

goodRhett

goodLink2

goodLink

I then set about writing the story. I wanted to put them on a quest, to include cool locations from the show, and to involve Belvedere. Some of my early drafts had them fighting a cockatrice in a tournament or telling tall tales to each other. Eventually I settled an a story, and got the prose and cadence right. It would continue to change and improve, but it was enough to move forward. I separated the lines where there were natural breaks and set about sketching the whole book.

bookpages2

bookpages

 

The objective at this point is to plan out illustrations and layouts, discover any narrative issues, determine flow. A scene might sound fun in writing and be impossible to illustrate, or you might find a page break at a particular juncture is jarring. The trick is to work as quickly as possible. A change at this point would cost me 5 minutes, versus the 3 hours a slight alteration takes later on.

And it is really important to Pick your Book Dimensions– I have spent many a sad hour re-drawing a layout made for the wrong aspect ratio. You can do this by browsing the print-on-demand service you would like to use, or by searching for popular book sizes. And not all sizes are made equal. Standard sizes will always be cheaper to print. I settled on the 8×10 portrait size offered by Blurb.

Once I had a first draft, I printed it out on copy paper, and read it to my friends and family. I discovered many a error, and received lots of helpful feedback.

colorTest
First color test

I was now ready to begin illustrating. I did a few color tests in Manga Studio, trying to determine how I would color and light the characters, and to experiment with backgrounds. When you are working on a series of images, it is important to set rules for yourself. Some questions you need to be answering can include: Are backgrounds going to be fully drawn, or just implied? Will backgrounds be full bleed, or fade to white? How will I handle highlights and shadows? This will help to create cohesion in the world you are creating, and save you from having to fix bad decisions, or creating a style that will be impossible to finish.

tumblr_nlquh9zD5j1sik44fo1_1280
second color test

Once I was relatively happy with the result, I made a template document with borders and bleeds, to make sure I would work in the correct size and started working on the rest of the book. I worked on it full time for about 2 months.

The final step was printing. Blurb.com was the only print-on-demand service that had the size wanted, and I had heard good things about the quality of their books, so I decided to go with them.

My one complaint is their hefty $42 price tag, but overall, it was a pleasant experience. Just be sure to convert to CMYK and use the color profile provided. I ended up having to order 2, and being set back a couple weeks, just because of a stupid mistake.

Final product

I mailed it off, along with a Belvedere figurine I made (I’ll write about that soon) and one of my Silent Hero prints. Now, we wait to see what Rhett and Link think of it…

If you liked the book, help support me with merch!

53 thoughts on “Good Mythical Morning Book

    • Radscoolian says:

      I can’t sell it. It has copyrighted GMM material in it. If Rhett and Link wanted to sell it, I would be ecstatic, but it’s entirely up to them.

  1. Christie says:

    Just finished Good Mythical Morning and GMM where they featured your book and I have to say…AMAZING!!!! You should find a publisher and start a series because I would absolutely LOVE to follow along! Many blessings on your future!

    • Radscoolian says:

      Thanks! I watched the episode like 23 times to soak it all in.
      It’s up to Rhett and Link. I would get in trouble if I tried to sell it on my own.

  2. ella says:

    hey, your book is great, you should try to reach out to Rhett and Link about the possibility of selling the book. I bet they would consider selling it at the GMM store.

  3. Michelle says:

    I absolutely loved your book for Rhett and Link. It was Caldecott Medal worthy! I’d love to see it go to print someday. Great job and best wishes!

  4. Gumbo123 says:

    @ Radscoolian – – Stephen, this is fantastic work. As one of the K-Mods and an active contributor to the RhettandLinkommunity.com pages, I have also “plugged” your website by featuring a link and pic of the finished product on the Kommunity’s discussion of today’s GMM episode on the GMM Fans group. I too am hopeful that Rhett and Link will consider authorize or endorse a version for sale . . . in bulk of 100 or more the per book cost should come down considerably. Please keep us advised on this and any future endeavors.

    • Radscoolian says:

      Thanks for the plug! I’ve done some research about publishing, and if you order a whole bunch it drives the price way down. The trick is having customers to buy your stuff, because it would still be thousands of dollars to do a run.

  5. Kary says:

    Well Done Stephen, I enjoyed the book as it was read on GMM today and I must say. I was really impressed I also was impressed with the process you went through to get the finished product as you wrote about her on this page.
    Much appreciated and look forward to seeing what is next. Good stuff, knocked it out of the park!

    • Radscoolian says:

      Thanks! I always appreciate a good “behind the scenes.” It was a great learning process for me and I plan to make more children’s books.

    • Radscoolian says:

      I just hope it results in some future opportunities. Even if it doesn’t, you alls excitement was worth it.

  6. Emily Carver says:

    I love your book, The Quest of Mythicality. It actually brought a few tears to my eyes. I would so love to purchase it if that were ever possible. You certainly have a lot of talent.

  7. Kinny says:

    So awesome!!! I am SO impressed with how you captured Rhett & Link’s essence in such simple cartoon caricatures. There would be no doubt looking at them– “YEP, that’s Rhett and Link.” Also the cockatrice is super cute ahhhh!! I want one of those 3D models. It seems you’re looking into selling the book, but I think you should ask them if you can sell the cockatrice figurine too. They already have bobble heads of themselves, why not a little cockatrice model?? And yours were rendered so perfectly and with such an awesome and cute style!

    I hope you get more foot traffic on your site from this. You deserve it with your talent and hard work.

    • Radscoolian says:

      Thanks Kinny!
      As I was working on the characters I realized that Rhett and Link are basically cartoon characters in real life. I wonder if that has something to do with their success, because everything about their look, from the hair to their wardrobe to height difference, is so cartoonish and memorable.
      I thought about selling the model, but I don’t want to do wrong by them. I’m thinking about giving some toys away in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that.
      I would love to do something with them, but it’s their gig.

  8. Edwin says:

    Hello! Saw your amazing work on GMMore today, and it was really stunning! The quality, the art, the story, pretty amazing! I immediately went to go search for the artist, and here I am. Great work and keep it up! Im looking forward for it getting released, I hope Rhett & Link contact you for making that possible. Or at least some digital format! I want to show this to my Niece and for me as well. Haha! Greetings from Puerto Rico. (:

    • Radscoolian says:

      Hello Edwin of Puerto Rico!
      Have you ever read “The Mystery of Edwin Drood?” It’s the last book that Charles Dickens ever wrote, and he died before he finished it, so it will ever be a mystery! How cool is that?
      I hope they contact me too, but I know they are busy, and it’s their brand. We shall see.
      Thanks for the kind words!

  9. Norik says:

    This Book was Awesome! I really want one now. Where can I get one? Almost everyone in the comments is asking where they can get one! GL man! 😀

    • Radscoolian says:

      Hey Norik!
      Thanks man! I can’t sell them myself, cuz laws and stuff. If Rhett and Link are down, I would just die from excitement, but it’s up to them.
      Your name is cool, btw.

  10. Pat says:

    You are amazing and your art is, too. When I saw your book on gmmore the first thing I thought of was I want to be able to draw like that. And the story was great too. At the end of the story I got goosebumps and I had to clap along with rhett and link because it was just so amazing. I hope to become an illustrator some day or maybe even a writer. You have become a big inspiration for me 😀
    If ever this book goes up for sale, I would purchase it as soon as I can. I hope to be able to show it to my to my nieces and nephews or to my future children and grandchildren. Good luck in your path towards success and thank you for making that wonderful book ^^

    • Radscoolian says:

      Dude, thanks.
      This is the first book I’ve made, so I’m right there with you in still being a dreamer. And drawing is still real tough for me, so don’t give up. You can be whatever you set your mind on. I get mondo depressed looking through tumblr and instagram at all the AMAZING artists out there, and I have a lot more to learn. The thing I hear over and over is that if you want to be a good artist, you’ve gotta keep at it, and draw every day.
      Check out this Adam Hughes tweet:

      I think of that every time I feel like I suck.
      One day we’ll all know about the fabulous PAT!

  11. Becky says:

    I watch Good Mythical Morning everyday and when I saw your book I was AMAZED! Such a great job! I need to order one for my 8 month old son I think. And my husband, he’ll love it too 😉

    My husband is an artist as well, very similar in to what you do. You’ve got amazing talent! Awesome job with everything.

    My husband and I have a few webcomics out there as well and just love your style.

    Keep on being awesome! :)

  12. CB says:

    I just saw the GMMore your book was in- it is such a beautiful, amusing, and delightfully written book. You are extremely talented!

    I’m a pre-service elementary teacher and I would love to have this book in my classroom! I really hope Rhett and Link make it available for purchase. :-)

    • Radscoolian says:

      Hey CB!
      My big sis was a pre-service elementary teacher, and she made me grade papers with her. I gave them all F’s (just kidding). That’s a tough profession, but crazy important. I hope all goes well, and maybe you’ll get the book. We’ll see.
      Thanks for the complement!

  13. K.M. Logan says:

    Seriously loved the book! It was my kids bedtime story tonight, they watched GMM with me. My 6 year old loves Rhett and Link, so if this book ever finds it’s way into the greater public I’d buy.

  14. Steffi says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience making the book. You really deserve the praises that has been given on your comment section! Hopefully Rhett and Link will consider selling your work. Cheers!

  15. Ashwini says:

    Hey ClassyCrow, I absolutely loved the book you made for Rhett and Link. You are extremely talented! your patience and eye for detail is what makes your work so stunning. I wish you good luck in your future projects. Love, from India.

  16. Angela says:

    I am an aspiring elementary school teacher and a huge Good Mythical Morning fan! I would love to have a copy of your book to add to my library. I will pay whatever you ask! It’s so great! Pleeeeeease, get back to me!

  17. Matt Uzzetta says:

    I seriously loved that book! I hope Rhett and Link are smart enough to see demand where the clearly is and sell your book! I’m a 3D printer and I’m working on making some figurines for them, because it would be so cool. I love the show and think they’re great. Excellent work and keep at it!

  18. MooMoo says:

    Hello!!

    You are amazing! I’m just wondering if you could perhaps post the pages out for us to read.
    And I really hope Rhett and Link would sell this! I would totally buy this!

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